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24 September 2014

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You are in: Bristol > Features > TV archive > Mother Goose: 1977

Barbara Newman with goose costume

Barbara Newman removes her goose costume

Mother Goose: 1977

The late Barbara Newman was best known for her ability to bring to life the role of Priscilla in the pantomime Mother Goose. In 1977 reporter Neil Hughes went backstage to meet the lady who became recognised for being the best panto goose around.

The Bristol Hippodrome’s pantomime for 1977, Mother Goose, was made even more special by the fact that variety performer Barbara Newman had been chosen to play the part of Priscilla the Goose.

Priscilla the Goose outside Wimpy bar

Priscilla checks out the takeaways

After chasing a few passers-by outside the theatre, Barbara went back stage to talk to Points West’s Neil Hughes about the part – how she took it on and subsequently developed the role.

She first played Priscilla in the Swindon production of Mother Goose in 1946 and went on to play the leading goose on numerous occasions thereafter.

She even went to the lengths of studying the movements of geese and ducks in order to perfect her own interpretation!

Her portrayal of Priscilla drew attention from the critics and soon she was being hired to take on the role in theatres up and down the country including Liverpool and Birmingham.

Posters bearing Barbara’s name would proclaim she was ‘the best goose in the business’ and such names as Ken Dodd, John Inman and Roy Hudd relished the chance of performing alongside her.

Barbara Newman

Barbara Newman in 1977

John Inman once said, “When you saw the costume in the dressing room it was simply a dead object. When Barbara wore it she made it come to life”, something you can see for yourself when you watch the Points West report.

Barbara Newman continued to play Priscilla until her retirement in the late 1980s by which time she had become lovingly known as simply ‘The Goose Lady’.

She died in Sussex on 4th May 2002.

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last updated: 18/09/07

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